A STATE-BY-STATE GUIDE TO THE HOTTEST LAKES, RIVERS, STREAMS, AND HONEY HOLES IN AMERICA
ALASKA 1 SITKA It’s all about location, location, location. Sitka is a major pit stop on an ocean freeway used...
1 SITKA It’s all about location, location, location. Sitka is a major pit stop on an ocean freeway used by salmon heading to British Columbia, Washington, and other Alaska waters. Catch rates per angler are higher here than at any other marine area in southeast Alaska, and June is the No. 1 month. Mooch herring off Vitskari Rocks in the middle of Sitka Sound or outside Kruzof Island in the shadow of a towering dormant volcano. Angling Unlimited, 800-297-3380
* NUSHAGAK RIVER Picking Alaska’s best fishing stream is like ranking legs on the Rockettes, but the Nush regularly kicks out the most kings. Mid June is when it all starts to get really hot. KANEKTOK RIVER Anglers willing to take a gamble on possible high and roily conditions may hit the jackpot for huge rainbows when Bristol Bay streams open June 8. On the Kanektok, 30-inchers smash topwater mouse patterns at month’s end.
2 COLORADO RIVER AT LEES FERRY Rainbows don’t listen to anglers whining about the heat in Arizona. They’re comfortable year-round in the 15 miles of cold water flowing from the depths of Lake Powell between Glen Canyon Dam and the upper end of the Grand Canyon. Wear a big-brim hat and plan on drifting nymphs or San Juan Worms unless, of course, you hit the late-month cicada hatch. Want a real rush? Book a guide and go flats fishing for 25-pound carp. LEES FERRY ANGLER, 800-962-9755
* ROOSEVELT LAKE Night owls have a hoot after sundown hooking largemouths by the dozens on this reservoir–22,000 acres at full pool. CHEVELON CANYON RESERVOIR For high-country trout fishing, take a belly boat and head to Chevelon right now.
3 SACRAMENTO-SAN JOAQUIN DELTA The Delta is on everyone’s list of top largemouth waters. To win a tournament here, bass teams typically must boat limits with fish that average 6 to 8 pounds. Start the hunt in the 1,600 miles of interconnected waterways, backwaters, sloughs, and rivers by launching at Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island and scouting the flooded peat farm called Franks Tract. Topwater action is best following warm nights. Jigs are effective, but rubber frogs are currently the rage. HOOK, LINE AND SINKER TACKLE SHOP, 925-684-0668
* NEWPORT BEACH There’s little time for partying on party boats drifting over the schools of barracuda that flood into these waters this month. SACRAMENTO RIVER The Sacramento River serves up football-shaped rainbows within minutes of downtown Redding. The lure of choice is a Fox’s Poopah.
4 KAUAI The sugar industry is folding on the Garden Isle, leaving a sweet deal for anglers who want to book guided trips on the irrigation systems. Catch largemouths, smallmouths, and peacock bass, which look like floozies and fight like smallies on steroids. You’ll need a practiced cast to sight-fish, whether you’re using a fly rod or launching jerkbaits and jigs for fish averaging 3 pounds, with a few bucketmouths and peacocks going up to 8. CAST & CATCH FRESHWATER BASS FISHING, 808-332-9707
* KONA Beaches are peripheral to Big Island adventures this month when horse-size blue marlin migrate into this summer pasture. Tournament anglers book a year in advance, and granders have been caught right out of the harbors. OAHU Warning: Plan this fishing experience for the end of your visit to paradise. Hooking an 8-foot hammerhead off the Waikiki reef will get you so pumped that you won’t be able to relax afterward.
5 HENRY’S FORK The June spotlight shines on salmonflies, pale morning duns, green drakes, and brown drakes–and the massive educated rainbows that rise to sip them. Keep your ear to the ground, since hatches can vary dramatically up- and downstream. The Island Park area will fish better in runoff conditions. Hatches are more dependable late in the month. PMDs are staple patterns, but if green drakes hit the water, the trout can get reckless in a hurry. TROUTHUNTER, 208-558-9900
* BROWNLEE RESERVOIR Skip the smallmouths and crappies and grab the chance to dog channel cats when they’re in shallow water and even on the surface. LAKE COEUR D’ALENE Anglers looking to hook up with kokanee salmon tie on a Wedding Band lure at this scenic northern Idaho hotspot.
6 TRUCKEE RIVER Undiscovered? Hardly. Fishing pressure on the Truckee is second in Nevada only to that on Lake Mead. No matter, as anglers catch their share of trophy-size brown trout by stripping 6-inch Bandit Leeches along the banks and through pools. The best time to fish is when water flows are around 400 cfs. The Verdi area also has good numbers of rainbows, and hatchery trout are sprinkled in stretches through town, spring through fall. RENO FLY SHOP, 775-825-3474
* LAKE MEAD Las Vegas-area anglers aren’t referring to temperature when they say that things are boiling this month. What they really mean is that big stripers are biting in Lake Mead. LAKE TAHOE Even though it’s 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, Lake Tahoe will soon feel crowded with boaters who are totally unaware of the lake trout bounty below the surface.
7 LAKE POWELL First, the bad news: Bass numbers are down from last year. The good news is that it doesn’t matter. Anglers can still catch more fish than their arms can handle in this 180-mile-long reservoir teeming with so many stripers that the limits have been removed. Trachyte Canyon near Hite Crossing is particularly good in June. Cast floating stickbaits to slashing surface feeders or drop a simple hook with a piece of anchovy down to suspended schools. Get up-to-date fishing information at wayneswords.com. GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, 928-608-6200
* GREEN RIVER When other rivers rage with runoff, the Green, tamed by Flaming Gorge Dam, provides a tailrace trout fishery that attracts flyfishers from surrounding states. FLAMING GORGE RESERVOIR The mackinaw may be more concentrated at the Wyoming end, but Utah anglers should find a good supply in the canyon area upstream from the dam.
8 UMPQUA RIVER The Umpqua may be famous for steelhead, but smallmouths are the center of excitement now. There are boat ramps up- and downstream from Elkton, and floating will put you into the best of this river’s bronzeback water. Try the four-hour drift from Yellow Creek to Umpqua RV Park on the River (8 road miles from Elkton) or book a trip in the Big K Ranch stretch. Try Rooster Tail spinners, curly-tailed jigs, and other plastics. Just remember: Crawdads make up 90 percent of smallmouth stomach-content samples. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Roseburg, 541-440-3353
* DAVIS LAKE Jerks ruined the prime trout fishing here by illegally dumping largemouth bass into the water. Be mad, but also seize the opportunity to hook into a nice fat bass. COLUMBIA RIVER For shad fishing, you can’t beat the 4 miles below Bonneville Dam. Start at Bradford Island.
9 COLUMBIA RIVER ESTUARIES Sturgeon are the attraction in the Columbia River’s lower 20 miles, where the catch is measured in feet, not inches. Five-footers are common, and some anglers plunk anchovies to hook behemoths in the 10-foot range. The estuaries provide the most thrills, as sturgeon hooked in the shallows break the surface. Charters run $80 a day. Private boaters often follow the charters to tide-changing hotspots just above and below the Astoria Bridge. LONG BEACH VISITORS BUREAU, 800-451-2542
* MOSES LAKE Peak isn’t normally a desert term, except at this 6,800-acre splash among sand dunes where biologists have documented peak walleye populations. NEAH BAY New regulations now allow sport vessels to get a two-day head start on long-range charters for a portion of the state’s summer halibut quota. It all begins on June 19.
10 COLORADO RIVER June is a risky month, when melting snow can transform many rivers into chocolate milk. But if you hit that window of opportunity as the water starts to clear, the upper sections of the Colorado explode with some of the best dry-fly fishing in the West. Check out the Kemp and Breeze units; if the Colorado is muddy, you can detour from there up the Williams Fork, a tailwater with epic caddisfly action. CUTTHROAT ANGLERS, 888-876-8818
* STAGECOACH RESERVOIR One of America’s most prolific northern pike reservoirs, Stagecoach near Steamboat Springs routinely serves up 40-plus-inch fish on jigs, swimming lures, and even flies. HORSETOOTH RESERVOIR Almost left for dead in recent drought years, Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins has made a stunning comeback, and smallmouth bass fishing may now be better than it ever was.
11 BIG HOLE RIVER Few anglers will dispute the fact that the Big Hole’s salmonfly hatch is an extraordinary event in the angling world. Finicky river conditions can throw things out of whack, but if you hit it at the right time, you’ll find yourself catching huge brown trout on 2-inch-long dry flies. Try the area where the Wise River dumps into the main river, but follow the hatch when it moves. A bonus is that golden stoneflies also hatch in June. Craig Fellin Outfitters and Big Hole Lodge, 406-832-3252
* BIGHORN RIVER The Bighorn below Yellowtail Dam in Fort Smith is buzzing with insect hatches, and catching trophy rainbows and browns on dry flies is a real possibility. ROCK CREEK Also known for an epic June salmonfly hatch, Rock Creek has extra appeal now because its waters tend to clear quickly after bouts of runoff.
12 CEDAR BLUFF RESERVOIR Wipers–a cross between white and striped bass–are some of the toughest-fighting fish you can hook, and Cedar Bluff, in west-central Kansas, is a great place to fish for them. They’ll hit a variety of things: Shad are live-bait options, but drop-shot rigs, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits work well, too. This impoundment also holds good numbers of smallmouth bass and an underrated population of large walleyes. JEFF’S GUIDE SERVICE, 785-726-4099
* WILSON LAKE Wilson is one of the clearest lakes in Kansas, and sight fishing is possible in June. The real action is for stripers, which can weigh 30 pounds or more. CHENEY RESERVOIR Early-summer action at Cheney, some 20 miles west of Wichita, focuses on crappies, bluegills, flathead catfish, and channel catfish.
13 LAKE C.W. McCONAUGHY McConaughy is the largest lake in Nebraska, and it probably offers the best fishing in the state. This is especially true in June, when McConaughy attracts walleye anglers from all over the country. There are also white bass, wipers, and smallies. On the other side of Kingsley Dam (which created McConaughy from the North Platte River), Lake Ogallala has some excellent tailwater trout fishing. BIG MAC GUIDE SERVICE, 308-284-2805 OR 308-284-2099
* FREMONT LAKES SRA Only 30 miles or so northwest of Omaha, Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area is a series of 20 sandpit lakes carved into the Platte River basin. The attraction here is the diversity of bass fishing opportunities. RED WILLOW RESERVOIR Red Willow north of McCook is a local favorite, thanks to its track record of producing trophy wipers, largemouths, smallmouths, and flathead catfish.
14 ELEPHANT BUTTE RESERVOIR Located in the desert near Truth or Consequences, 40-mile-long Elephant Butte has two personalities. Its northern reaches are relatively shallow, and its southern section is deep; the two are connected by a 4-mile stretch called the Narrows. Despite sparse vegetation, there is a fair amount of flooded timber, making ideal bass habitat. You’ll find more largemouths in the north, and more smallmouths and stripers (40 pounds or bigger) in the deeper southern sections. RIO GRANDE GUIDE SERVICE, 505-894-3454
* CONCHAS LAKE Conchas has walleyes, largemouth bass, white bass, bluegills, and crappies on the menu, and more than 60 miles of diverse shoreline to choose from. SAN JUAN RIVER Flushing flows in late spring subside in June, clearing the way for excellent flyfishing. Try your hand at catching some of the Juan’s signature fat rainbows on top.
15 LAKE EUFAULA Now is the time to chase spawning catfish, and Lake Eufaula, in eastern Oklahoma south of Muskogee, is the money spot for blues, channels, and flatheads. The best approach is to work sectioned shad baits or shrimp (from the grocery) on a weighted hook just above structure and rocky areas. A good channel cat weighs more than 5 pounds and is an absolute brawler on light tackle. Eufaula also has largemouth bass, crappies, and bluegills. GONE CATCHING, 918-689-3349
* LAKE TEXOMA Covering roughly 89,000 acres where the Red River is dammed along the Texas-Oklahoma border, Lake Texoma is a haven for smallmouths, largemouths, and stripers. BROKEN BOW LAKE Though the prime time for bass fishing on Broken Bow is March through May, June might offer your best shot at a truly big largemouth.
16 LOWER LAKE SHARPE Biologists are predicting that summer fishing will be superb on the Missouri River reservoirs that slice through the center of the state. One of the best early-summer bets will be Lower Lake Sharpe, near Fort Thompson. You’ll find concentrations of walleyes, smallmouths, white bass, and northern pike if you focus near the West Bend Campground area. Walleyes often exceed 20 inches, and you can catch 20-plus-pound northerns on bucktail jigs. KARL PALMER GUIDE SERVICE, 605-223-3186
* WAUBAY LAKE The glacial lakes in the northeast, near Webster, have reliable action at this time of year. Waubay–with perch, walleyes, smallmouths, and northern pike–is a local favorite. BLACK HILLS Though overlooked, this region is a real sleeper for trout, with everything from small tailwaters like Rapid Creek to classic freestones like Spearfish Creek.
17 LAGUNA MADRE Yes, Texas is loaded with rivers and lakes, but let’s not forget about the south coast, which just happens to be among the world’s greatest saltwater fishing destinations. Think Texas, think large, and nothing is more expansive than the saltwater flats of Laguna Madre, adjacent to Padre Island. You can catch all sorts of inshore species on conventional or fly tackle here, but June is the zenith of the seatrout season. LOWER LAGUNA MADRE GUIDE SERVICE, 956-761-6593
* SAM RAYBURN RESERVOIR Fifteen miles north of Jasper, this impoundment has more than 114,000 acres to explore and was practically made for largemouth bass fishing. HILL COUNTRY Chasing bass–be they largemouths, smallies, spots, or Guadalupes–from a canoe or kayak on one of the famous Texas Hill Country rivers is an absolute gas. Try the Llano, Guadalupe, or San Marcos Rivers.
18 GLENDO RESERVOIR Glendo Reservoir in eastern Wyoming is one of the state’s best warmwater fisheries, with healthy populations of large walleyes, yellow perch, and channel catfish. Created by a dam on the North Platte River, the impoundment has 78 miles of shoreline, with many camping facilities and six boat ramps. As the walleye season heats up this month, remember that the fish will be moving to deeper waters; bottom bouncers are usually productive then. TWO DOG’S GUIDE SERVICE, 307-761-2921
* EAST NEWTON LAKE This could be the crown jewel of Wyoming’s coldwater lakes. Just 5 miles northwest of Cody, 80-acre East Newton holds big brown, rainbow, and brook trout. NORTH PLATTE RIVER For true trophy-size trout, the Gray Reef section of the North Platte River is a blue-ribbon bet.
19 LAKE SAKAKAWEA This massive reservoir on the Missouri River system has produced a number of state records, including a 5-pound 9-ounce smallmouth bass and a 37-pound 8-ounce northern pike. Covering a staggering 365,000 acres, the lake also harbors crappies, trout, saugers, white bass, and yellow perch. The trick is to choose a species and zero in on the right bait choice. The east end, above the dam, is always a good place in June. Sakakawea Outfitters, 701-487-3683
* CENTRAL MISSOURI RIVER For river fishing, try the Missouri downstream from Sakakawea. The waters just below Garrison Dam are some of the state’s best. DEVILS LAKE Devils Lake in the northeast really comes alive with pike, walleyes, and white bass by early June. Work the shoreline with crankbaits for best results.
20 LAKE OF THE OZARKS Thanks to a 15-inch size limit and an abundance of gizzard shad, this 90-mile-long reservoir produces excellent largemouth fishing, with some bass going up to 9 pounds. Concentrate on planted brushpiles that may be as deep as 25 feet, as well as the lake’s 40,000-plus docks. A 4-inch finesse worm will take higher numbers, whereas a black 10-inch Berkley Power Worm is the way to go for big bass. Greg Stoner, fisheries biologist, 573-346-2210
* MISSOURI RIVER June is prime time to catch giant catfish, and the Missouri is well known for growing them. The stretch near St. Joseph gets little pressure and yields more heavyweight flatheads than anywhere else. TABLE ROCK Take in the scenic Ozark hills that surround Table Rock Lake as you fish for spotted, largemouth, smallmouth, and meanmouth (smallmouth-spotted hybrid) bass.
21 LAKE DARDANELLE This navigation pool of the Arkansas River is super largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish habitat. The strip pits near Russellville, with many fingers and steep banks lined with water willows, are a favored hangout of giant largemouths. Smart anglers crank the banks with a citrus shad Bomber Fat Free Shad Fingerling, which dives 8 to 10 feet deep. RUSH SPORTING GOODS, 479-968-4322
* NORFORK LAKE Striped bass abound in this clear 22,000-acre reservoir, and now is the time to try for a 30-pounder. CITY PARK PONDS Little Rock, West Memphis, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, and Fort Smith all stock their park waters with trout during the cool months and channel catfish in the summer.
22 LAKE JACKSONVILLE Intensive management and a 15-inch minimum-size limit have created Illinois’s very best largemouth action at this 475-acre municipal reservoir. Chug an XCalibur Xz2 Zell Pop next to deadfalls along the shoreline and over coontail grassbeds. Buy a pass from the city of Jacksonville; the money is used to maintain boat ramps and other facilities. CITY OF JACKSONVILLE PARKS & LAKES, 217-479-4613
* LAKE SHELBYVILLE The muskie fishing just keeps getting better and better at this huge reservoir southeast of Decatur, and this is when to hit it. CARLYLE LAKE Fifty miles east of St. Louis, this reservoir is loaded with white bass measuring 12 inches and longer. Try the tailwater for largemouth bass and walleyes.
23 PATOKA LAKE A fertile reservoir that dependably yields big largemouth bass, Patoka also has a developing striper fishery. Concentrate on milfoil beds for largemouths, especially those around Painter Creek State Recreation Area. Crank the edges of the grass with a firetiger Cotton Cordell Big O, and work into the vegetation with a junebug 7½-inch Texas-rigged Yum Ribbontail worm and 3/8-ounce bullet sinker. TIM’S GUIDE SERVICE, 812-936-3382
* MONROE LAKE Strong, aggressive hybrid stripers grow fat on this 10,750-acre reservoir, Indiana’s largest. WEBSTER LAKE It may be only 774 acres, but Webster has been stocked with muskies since 1980 and holds good numbers of them up to 42 pounds.
24 UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER The navigation pools of the Mississippi have many shallow backwaters filled with stumps, downed trees, lily pads, and other aquatic vegetation. Crappies thrive in these environments, as do bass and bluegills. Bussey Lake in pool 10 near Guttenberg is one example where the fishing is hot. Probe the woody cover there with a bobber and minnow to load up on slab crappies. SCOTT GRITTERS, FISHERIES BIOLOGIST, 563-252-1156
* RATHBUN LAKE Last season, this reservoir had its best walleye fishing ever, and limits of 15- to 25-inch fish should be easy. SPIRIT LAKE Smallmouth fishing continues to be superb.
25 LAKE ST. CLAIR Though it’s too small to be a Great Lake, St. Clair covers 162 square miles and has one of the densest muskie populations in the country. It’s regulated for trophy fishing, with a minimum-length limit of 44 inches. To get fish now, troll big Drifter Believer lures over 20 to 25 feet of water near the shipping channel. If you get tired of that, smallmouth bass fishing is an excellent alternative. LAKESIDE FISHING SHOP, 586-777-7003
* SAGINAW BAY Schools of big walleyes suspend offshore in this huge bay in early summer. AU SABLE RIVER Coursing through the Huron National Forest and eight counties, the Au Sable is revered for its hefty brown trout.
26 MILLE LACS LAKE Here you’ll find 133,000 acres of legendary walleye water, with trophy muskies and smallmouth bass a major bonus. When the wind blows, drift minnows beneath slip bobbers over reefs. On calm days, drag Lindy rigs along the edges of mudflats in the middle of the lake near the 9 and 7 Mile markers. The flats top out around 23 feet and drop into 35 feet of water. KEVIN McQUOID, MAC’S TWIN BAY, 866-670-8709
* RAINY LAKE On the Ontario border, this walleye wonderland has solid fishing that starts in June and stays hot well into September. LAKE OF THE WOODS The 65,000 miles of shoreline around this natural lake–which produces tons of sizable walleyes–extend into Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota.
27 LAKE ERIE It’s widely regarded as the greatest walleye fishery in the country, with many fish weighing more than 8 pounds. The west end of this 241-mile-long Great Lake is where you’ll find the main spawning reefs. Cast Erie Dearie’s Weapon spinner to suspended, postspawn walleyes in the deep water off Niagara Reef. When the fish migrate farther offshore in summer, drift-and-drag crawler harnesses 4 feet behind a 1- to 2-ounce keel sinker. CAPT. BOB TROXEL, 740-707-2235
* ROCKY RIVER From fall through May, there’s easy access to exceptional steelhead fishing in the river’s lower 10 to 12 miles. INDIAN LAKE Once a part of the Miami and Erie Canal system, this shallow lake gives up many six-fish limits of saugeyes.
28 DRIFTLESS AREA Brown trout anglers should head to the streams in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. There is excellent access in all of the region’s eight counties. Vernon County alone has 68 streams, including noted waters such as the Kickapoo River and Timber Coulee Creek. Flyfishermen use caddis and mayfly imitations for 12- to 16-inch and occasionally larger trout. PAUL KOGUT, ROCKING K FLY SHOP, 608-452-3678
* LAKE MICHIGAN This Great Lake is producing more chinook salmon than ever, and many will tip the scales at 12 to 18 pounds. Brown trout, steelhead, and smallmouths are also plentiful. CHEQUAMEGON BAY With its 22-inch minimum-size limit, Chequamegon Bay off Lake Superior has become a bona fide trophy area for smallmouth bass.
29 LAKE CUMBERLAND Some of the country’s best fishing for freshwater striped bass happens in massive Lake Cumberland. The stripers here average 10 to 12 pounds, 20-pounders are common, and plenty of 30- and even 40-pounders are landed every season. They go 10 to 20 feet deep in June, in the main lake anywhere from the mouth of Fishing Creek to the dam. Try rocky shorelines for smallmouths that can hit 5 pounds. Sasser’s Guide Service, 606-387-8949
* KENTUCKY LAKE This gigantic, storied reservoir keeps on growing heavyweight largemouth bass and big crappies. CAVE RUN LAKE Muskies have been stocked in Cave Run since 1974, and it’s now considered true trophy water. Fish over 30 pounds are taken every year.
30 KISSIMMEE LAKES Simply because there’s so much water to choose from, there’s no better bet for bass in June than this chain around Orlando. The system includes some 20 water bodies, from huge Lake Kissimmee at 44,000 acres to compact Lake Cypress at 5,500 acres. This means you can follow key conditions such as water levels to find the hottest spots. Mornings make for especially good topwater action with stickbaits, buzzbaits, and frogs. Capt. Steve Boyd, Florida Bass Adventures, 352-603-5467
* HOMOSASSA FLATS Huge schools of some of the largest tarpon in the world show up at the mouth of the Homosassa River in June. INDIAN RIVER Spotted seatrout over 5 pounds are called “gator trout” in Florida, and you can catch them on live mullet or topwaters.
31 LAKE GUNTERSVILLE You can catch crappies, bream, saugers, and catfish on this impoundment midway between Birmingham and Chattanooga. Few people try, though. Instead they come for bass, and plenty of them. Stay out of the crowds by fishing the narrow northern end of the lake. Probe the grassbeds with weedless frogs and spoons, buzzbaits, and floating worms. Hit the shallows early and late for topwater action. FISH LAKE GUNTERSVILLE GUIDE SERVICE, 256-759-2270
* NEELY HENRY LAKE If you’re after something different, try spotted bass on this winding northeastern Alabama reservoir. DIXIE BAR, MOBILE BAY Bull redfish to 30 pounds are common on this bar near Fort Morgan.
32 LAKE LANIER Since blue-back herring got into Lanier a few years ago, the spotted bass population in this reservoir north of Atlanta has thrived. Five-fish stringers are common, and fish often top 3 pounds. Probing deep-water structure with light-colored jigs and small worms on thin lines is a good tactic. Or, try working small topwater plugs over the treetops at midday. And don’t worry about getting sunburned. You won’t be out there long enough. LAKELANIER.COM
* CLARK HILL RESERVOIR Georgia’s largest lake has loads of big largemouths. ST. SIMONS ISLAND The tarpon bite runs May through September.
33 SEABROOK BRIDGE, LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN One of the best fishing holes in the state is a ½-square-mile hole in Lake Pontchartrain, where the bottom drops from an average of 6 feet to 25 feet and more. Big schools of speckled trout over 4 pounds move in around June. Anchor at the dropoffs, and send live shrimp to the bottom on a Carolina rig. The action starts less than 50 yards from the developed shoreline, so you won’t be alone, but the trout don’t seem to mind. CAPT. DUDLEY VANDENBORRE, 985-847-1924
* WEST DELTA BLOCK 58 The forest of oil rigs off the coast is arguably the most productive fishing “reef” in North America. SOUTH TIMBALIER For cobia, drop live bait or plastic jigs over the side and hang on!
34 BAY SPRINGS LAKE To catch spotted bass by the boatload, try this 6,000-acre reservoir on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in the state’s northwest hill country. Find them by fishing the humps, spots where submerged hilltops are within 20 and 30 feet of the surface. Finesse worms in natural colors, soft-plastic curly-tailed jigs, and small crankbaits all work. Switch to larger spinnerbaits and plastic worms on Carolina rigs for largemouths. ROGER STEGALL GUIDE SERVICE, 662-423-3869
* CALLING PANTHER LAKE This 500-acre state lake near Crystal Springs has quickly become a hotspot for bass and bream. BARRIER ISLANDS Catch specks, reds, mackerel, cobia, and croakers off the beaches.
35 SANTEE-COOPER Lakes Marion and Moultrie, which make up the Santee-Cooper corridor between Charleston and Columbia, are to catfishing what Wimbledon is to tennis: hallowed ground. This is where the best come to play in June, because this is where the most big cats can be found, including flatheads, channels, and blues. They haven’t yet retreated to deep holes at this time, and you can roam the shallow flats adjacent to deep dropoffs with live shad, minnows, worms, cut herring, and stinkbaits. HOOD’S GUIDE SERVICE, 888-565-3675
* LAKE RUSSELL Jig the marker poles for nighttime bass. CHARLESTON JETTIES Motor out to the Charleston jetties when the water warms and you’ll be into bull reds, sharks, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, even a stray tarpon or two.
36 KENTUCKY LAKE Your options are many on this huge reservoir spanning the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Bass are already past the postspawn, and they respond to topwaters fished around emerging grassbeds, worms and jigs flipped in the flooded shoreline brush, or crankbaits running over midlevel structure in the bays and main-lake channels. If you don’t want bass, try for crappies along deep creek-channel dropoffs, bluegills in bushes and under willows, or catfish on flats and along channel structures. Family campsites are available in the Land Between the Lakes region, so bring the whole crew. KENTUCKYLAKE.COM
* REELFOOT LAKE This cypress-filled lake is among the prettiest in the South, and the bream fishing here is as sweet as the iced tea. PICKWICK LAKE Long, narrow Pickwick has great smallmouth action after dark.
37 LATIMER SHOAL Folks who find their way to this spot south of Cape Charles off Chesapeake Bay’s eastern shore will have little trouble meeting up with cobia. Schools arrive in May, and by June they gather in such numbers that anglers have a chance of catching fish weighing more than 30 pounds. Angling tactics are simple: Using a heavy-duty shock leader and a reel with a good drag, drop a cutbait such as menhaden down to the bottom, and work it slowly. Fishing is good along the entire shoal, but if it gets crowded, you can catch cobia around almost any of the offshore buoys. LOOSEN UP CHARTERS, 202-369-8203
* CHICKAHOMINY RIVER The Chick is back and better than ever, thanks to heroic stocking efforts by Concerned Bass Anglers of Virginia. SOUTH FORK HOLSTON RIVER There are good reasons why the South Fork is southwestern Virginia’s premier trout fishery: It’s not only beautiful, but it also has plenty of big browns and rainbows.
38 PAMLICO SOUND You don’t need to go offshore for big-game fishing. Just explore the vast Pamlico Sound estuary and you’ll encounter red drum to 50 pounds, ready to provide all the combat you can handle. Small boaters can find peaceful, flat water along the shorelines near the mouths of the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, where the big fish come to feed. If you have enough boat or the wind is down, try the reefs and shoals in the Sound. You’ll need heavy tackle and endurance to outfight these monsters. Capt. Gary Dubiel, 252-249-1520
* KERR LAKE Bass in this sprawling impoundment on the North Carolina-Virginia border are well past the spawn by June and are beginning to feed aggressively both in the shallows and off rock ledges. BEECH CREEK The 11 counties in the northwest corner of the state have many miles of quality trout water, but the finest fishing may be on Beech Creek near Boone in rugged Watauga County.
39 CRANBERRY RIVER Everybody likes a good comeback story, and the Cranberry is a great one. The mountain stream, which tumbles through Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Webster, and Nicholas Counties, had been ravaged by acid rain but was brought back to health with the building of two crushed-lime treatment sites. Now it ranks as a top fishery, loaded with rainbows and browns. The best stretch might be the catch-and-release section from Woodbine to Camp Splinter, which is vehicle-accessible. CRANBERRY WILDERNESS OUTFITTERS, 304-846-6805
* STONEWALL JACKSON LAKE Lots of downed timber and a network of submerged roads and creek beds make this Lewis County impoundment a bass fisherman’s delight. NEW RIVER One of the most exciting whitewater rivers in the East is also one of its finest smallmouth fisheries.
40 MONTAUK Montauk Point on easternmost Long Island is the best-known spot in all of striper fishing. That means it gets crowded, even more so when surf casters follow the advice to “fish under the light” (lighthouse). Here’s a tip: Walk to the left or right along the shore from the lighthouse parking lot. Keep walking–there’s great structure as far as you can see in both directions. And when you’re hauling that 30-pounder to your truck, tell anyone who asks that you caught it under the light. Paulie’s Tackle of Montauk, 631-668-5520
* WEST BRANCH AUSABLE RIVER Given the flooding of Catskill rivers during 2005 and 2006, consider heading north to fish the West Branch Ausable near Wilmington. A 5-mile catch-and-release section above town attracts many flyfishermen.ONEIDA LAKE This big lake in central New York is a certified walleye factory. Traditional tactics all work.
41 LONG ISLAND SOUND Connecticut’s shoreline comes alive with stripers in June, as postspawn bass exit the Hudson River and start moving east. From the gray-flannel enclaves of Fairfield County on the west all the way east to the yachting village of Stonington on the Rhode Island border, catching stripers is more a matter of finding access than of finding the fish. Here are two top spots: The mouth of the Housatonic near Stratford is wadable by anglers reaching the water via the public park at Short Beach. Farther east is a state boat ramp at Barn Island near Stonington. STRATFORD BAIT AND TACKLE, 203-377-8091
* HOUSATONIC RIVER The Housatonic near Cornwall Bridge has been a mainstay of Connecticut trout fishing for years. FARMINGTON RIVER When the Housy gets too warm, many trout anglers move to the Farmington.
42 INDIAN RIVER INLET AND BAY Inshore, southeastern Delaware offers fishing for stripers, bluefish, and weakfish. Offshore charters go for game such as sharks and tuna. Delaware Seashore State Park provides access to the back bays, the oceanfront beaches, and the tidal currents of Indian River Inlet. There are camping facilities, and a marina with guides and charter boats is nearby. DELAWARE SEASHORE STATE PARK, 302-227-2800
* DELAWARE BAY Stripers, weakfish, and summer flounder are the main targets in the big bay.
43 KENNEBEC RIVER Twenty years of cleaner water and the removal of an upstream dam have transformed the lower Kennebec and its adjacent coastline into the latest striper hotspot. The bass are spawning here in increasing numbers. A single-hook artificials-only rule applies until July 1 to protect spawning stocks. This generally keeps the bait soakers off the water until high summer, while leaving lots of room for fly and lure anglers. KENNEBEC ANGLER, 877-894-4589
* MOOSEHEAD LAKE Dry-fly action for brookies in the Moosehead region can be outstanding in June. BELGRADE LAKES Bass fishing is often first-rate on Lakes Cobbosseecontee and Messalonskee.
44 GUNPOWDER FALLS Beat the heat and catch coldwater trout at Gunpowder Falls, an exceptional tailwater fishery running out from Prettyboy Dam a few miles west of Exit 27 on Interstate 83. Back in 1987, Trout Unlimited put together a deal with the authorities to start coldwater releases from the dam. As a result, wild and stocked brown, brook, and rainbow trout are all in play. The action is best near the dam. Most of the fishing is in Gunpowder Falls State Park. PARK OFFICE, 410-592-2897
* POTOMAC RIVER There are almost 50 miles of fantastic largemouth fishing from Washington, D.C., south to the U.S. 301 bridge. OCEAN CITY A short run to the Gulf Stream puts you into everything from false albacore to marlin.
45 CAPE COD Right now the best striper fishing on earth is off Cape Cod. North-migrating fish are hitting the beaches, bays, and offshore rips, chowing down on squid, sand eels, herring, and more. Surf casters do best with lures at dawn and dusk high tides; a 2-ounce Kastmaster tin is basic. Boat fishermen working shoals and holes, particularly off the Cape’s south side or in Cape Cod Bay, can score all day. GOOSE HUMMOCK, 508-255-0455
* QUABBIN RESERVOIR Multiple gamefish species abound at this lake set amid pristine woodlands. DEERFIELD RIVER Coldwater trout fishing lasts all summer in this tailwater.
46 CONNECTICUT LAKES From flyfishing in backwoods beaver bogs to trolling on bigger lakes, June is prime time for trout and salmon in northern New Hampshire. The Connecticut Lakes region surrounding Pittsburg offers three large lakes plus the headwaters of the Connecticut for rainbows, browns, brookies, and landlocked salmon. The river below Murphy Dam at Lake Francis is well known for browns that can top 5 pounds. TALL TIMBER LODGE, 800-835-6343
* LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE Smallmouth bass fishing is world-class on the state’s largest lake. ANDROSCOGGIN RIVER Here’s excellent big-river trout fishing, especially from Errol to Berlin.
47 FISHING CREEK One of the state’s top five wild-trout streams, Fishing Creek generally stays cool throughout the summer. That means this north-central river is a good bet from the green drake hatch of early June through the tricos and terrestrials of late August. A 5-mile artificials-only area in the so-called “narrows” near Lamar is the most popular. Trout here have all gained PhDs from heavy fishing pressure but are plentiful and sometimes very large. Flyfisher’s Paradise fly shop, 814-234-4189
* LAKE ERIE In Pennsylvania, the big lake is famed for incredible smallmouth fishing. Try Presque Isle Bay near Erie, which has 3,800 acres of protected water. RAYSTOWN LAKE You’ll catch landlocked stripers, largemouths, smallmouths, muskies, and more in this south-central reservoir.
48 ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK Set on a long, slim barrier island between Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic, Island Beach has long drawn surf casters from all over the East. Stripers are the primary target, but bluefish and weakfish are also popular. Three-day beach-driving permits for four-wheel-drive vehicles are sold at the park entrance for $50. A canoe launch site on the bay side gives access to the Sedge Islands area, where fishing can also be outstanding. BETTY AND NICK’S TACKLE SHOP, 732-793-2708
* ROUND VALLEY RESERVOIR This lake has coughed up record lakers, browns, and smallmouths. DELAWARE RIVER Bass and walleye fishing in the main stem holds up all season.
49 NEWPORT This city is about as old-money upscale as it gets, but surf casting for stripers here is down, dirty, and wonderful. The rocks are key. Abrupt, rough ledges mark much of the surf line, where the wash of breaking waves can bring hordes of bass. There’s access at Newport’s Breton Reef State Park, as well as at Beavertail Point on Jamestown Island. Farther west, the entire shore from Point Judith to Watch Hill is all good fishing. SALTWATER EDGE TACKLE SHOP, 866-793-6733
* WOOD RIVER The Wood River system has browns and rainbows that can top 5 pounds. WORDEN’S POND Small lakes and ponds like Worden’s give up largemouths all summer long.
50 LAKE CHAMPLAIN This sixth Great Lake, as Champlain is sometimes called, has gotten plenty of bass fishing attention because of national tournaments held here by BASS and the FLW Tour. At 110 miles long and 12 miles wide, with a maximum depth of about 425 feet, there is plenty of water–and fish–to go around. Largemouths favor the shallow bays at Champlain’s northern and southern ends, while smallmouths can be found on midlake rocky humps and points. Lake trout, landlocked salmon, northern pike, walleyes, yellow perch, and white perch all add spice. VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE, 802-241-3700
* BATTENKILL RIVER No-kill regs have made large browns and brookies abundant. DOG RIVER From Northfield to Montpelier, it’s a sleeper for trout.
FIELDANDSTREAM.COM ››› BONUS
For maps, fishing tips, local guides, and more photos, go to fieldandstream.com/june07 Every time you see an asterisk (*), that means there is a boatload more information on our website
Local Maps Interactive Google Earth maps allow you to zoom in on each of our 150 hotspots, scan the local terrain to find the exact places to fish, and then get directions. You’ll be able to find Trachyte Canyon on Lake Powell, for example, or explore on your own. Go to fieldandstream.com/june07
Guides Get help fishing these destinations from the best guides and tackle shops. Want to fish the Big Hole? Contact Craig Fellin, who’s been operating a guide service and lodge out of Wise River, Mont., since 1984. “You really get the flavor of the West when you fish the Big Hole,” says Fellin, who employs five full-time guides. Go to fieldandstream.com/june07
Fishing Tips Learn local knowledge from the people who know and fish our hotspots. “In June, I like using a Custom Lures Unlimited Cull 13 crankbait where Nutbush Creek empties into Kerr Lake,” says Jeffrey Thomas, owner of Carolina Outdoors and FLW professional bass angler. “Usually the depth I’m concentrating on is between 8 and 12 feet this time of year.” Go to fieldandstream.com/june07
Photo Galleries Check out some of the most recent catches from each destination, such as this redfish and yellowfin tuna caught out of South Timbalier, La., to see what you’ll be reeling in on your next trip. Both of these anglers were fishing with Capt. Andre Boudreaux, out of Boudreaux’s Marina. Go to fieldandstream.com/june07
Sound Off! Fishing Creek may have some of the best flyfishing in Pennsylvania, but what about the upper Delaware? Let us know if you agree with our selections. If you have some better spots you’d like to suggest or would like to share any fishing tips, we’re all ears! Go to fieldandstream.com/june07